San Jose

Superheroes Unite in Bay Area for Marvel Live Action Show

Bay Area comic fans, listen up! Marvel's latest crossover extravaganza is right here in the Bay Area, and it's teeming with local talent. 

After finishing its opening run in Oakland earlier this month, "Marvel Universe LIVE! Age of Heroes" is coming to San Jose. The live show features a hodgepodge of characters from superhero lore, including Spider-Man, Doctor Strange, Captain America, Black Widow and favorites from "Guardians of the Galaxy."

The Bay Area performances, running from August 17 to 20, are directed by a Berkeley native, James Hadley, who was previously Cirque du Soleil Senior Artistic Director for North America.

According to Hadley, the most challenging aspect of the production was getting all the storylines to fit together in a way that seemed cohesive. And, because Marvel fanatics are notorious for paying attention to even the tiniest of details, the pressure was on to portray origin stories and costume details in a manner that is consistent with the comic books.

"We've got these characters from literally all over the universe, so how do we weave their stories together and make the story as exciting as possible?" Hadley said. "We worked on this show for over a year and a half, making sure that we got all those details right." 

Most of the cast members have a background in martial arts, though the grueling stunts do tire them out after a live performance. Typically, the actors train for several hours a day, at least three times a week. When asked what they do to unwind, several immediately responded "sleep!" 

But, when they put the costumes on, they said they're ready for action — even if they haven't gotten their full strength back. 

"With our mask work that we do in the show, it becomes almost like full-body puppeteering," said Mark Ferrando, a Discovery Bay native who plays Spider-Man villain Electro. "We really get into character when those masks come on." 

To find out more about the show, check out the show's website. 

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